Natural Disasters? Human Possession? Aliens that have been patiently waiting just beneath our soil for centuries? Sounds like the perfect recipe for an apocalypse, or perhaps, a WORLD WAR…X to be precise. So can this series separate itself from the other supernatural Armageddon novels? Is it good?
World War X Vol. 1: Helius
As you can deduce from the title, the world has been thrown into great peril; the question is how did this come to be? The year is 2017 and the government is in the midst of moving large rectangular stone constructions from their buried origin to the moon. Just three pages into the novel one of the stone boxes is broken to reveal an alien (a very unhappy alien) dwelling inside. Unaware of exactly what happened on the moon, a scientist must convince a begrudging U.S. government to halt the project. Meanwhile a mysterious wealthy man forms a team to personally investigate the curious phenomenon occurring at the stone box dig sites.
Despite the quasi-generic beginning, the story continues to grow more complex as it introduces a historical pattern to these alien occurrences that’s been occurring for centuries. However, the story doesn’t come without a handful of inaccuracies. For example, there’s a depiction of fully clad knights on horseback in 1755 Portugal and later there’s a shot of knights in France using explosives in 1248. While these are small details that don’t pertain to the plot, they’re a little irksome. Obviously with these kinds of stories you can’t question everything and just have to roll with it.
The characters aren’t my favorite. They’re somewhat bland and at times they come off as a bit too theatrical. The writing and dialogue between characters is very scripted and even comes across as monotone at times. The reactions and conversations just don’t feel genuine or realistic and those characteristics are something that can be controlled and not something necessarily inherent to this genre. At times World War X feels like a B-movie when it doesn’t strive to be. However, by the end of the volume it’s obvious that something far greater is at play and that’s a redeeming quality about this book. Do things get even weirder? Yes. But at that point it wakes you up and starts to lose you while going through a period of predictable plot formalities just to move the story along until they’re able to make things interesting.
While the writing is a little dicey, the art game is strong. We don’t get to see too much of the aliens, but I’m sure Snejbjerg is going to kill it when it comes to more supernatural battle scenes. He does a great job with the shadowing and anatomically accuracy, especially opposed to the alien’s physique. I think my only critique of the art overall would be the colors used. It’s a rather dark book and the colors lack vibrancy and could use a little “pop.”
Is It Good?
World War X delivers a decent first book and it’s clear that the mandatory introduction slowed down the plot. I’m sure Frissen recognized that because there were some awkward transitions between plots where it seemed a bit rushed at times. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, especially because the end left with a pretty big cliffhanger and Snejbjerg’s art was consistent throughout the entire book.